By Duncan Mackay at the Radisson Royal Hotel in Moscow
August 9 - Jacques Rogge, President of of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), warned here today that there should be no discrimination against gay athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year.
Rogge claimed he was waiting for further clarification despite receiving written reassurances from the Kremlin over whether the draconian new laws which some fear would criminalise the promotion of non-heterosexual lifestyles would be applied to those taking part in events in Sochi.
"We are waiting for the clarifications before having the final judgment on these reassurances," said Rogge, following a joint meeting between the IOC's ruling Executive Board and the Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations on the eve of the World Athletics Championships, which are due to start tomorrow.
"The Olympic Charter is clear.
"A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation.
"As far as the freedom of expression is concerned, of course, this is something that is important.
"But we cannot make a comment on the law until the clarifications have been received."
The All Out advocacy group backed Rogge's stance.
"This is the strongest and most direct statement we have received from the International Olympic Committee," said All Out executive director Andre Banks.
"It shows the IOC is listening to the global outcry,"
But, despite continued calls for a boycott or the Games or for them to be moved to Vancouver, which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, Rogge insisted that he did not think the row would ruin Sochi 2014.
"I understand your impatience to get the full picture, but we haven't [received] it today," Rogge said.
"There are still too many uncertainties in the text.
"We don't think it is a fundamental issue."
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